GOP fight as Republicans scramble to replace Murtha 

On March 11, a group of 134 conferees from nine Pennsylvania counties will select the Republican nominee in the special election to replace deceased Democratic Rep. Rep. Jack Murtha, D. The conferees are to be selected by local GOP leaders.

The process of selecting the nominee is intended to be open enough that Republicans in southwestern Pennsylvania don't end up with another Dede Scozzafava on their hands, as PA2010 reports. Bill Russell, the 2008 nominee who took 42 percent against Murtha, already appears concerned that the local party bosses will favor his GOP opponent, businessman Tim Burns, who can self-fund the race. From PA2010:

“If you have county officials … trying to stack the deck by choosing certain minded conferees over others, that could present a serious problem for the selection process,” Russell said. “I don‘t expect that Burns’ ability to self-finance his campaign is going to determine the outcome of the special election, but I think it potentially could.”

Russell has released a Zogby poll showing himself far ahead -- 37 to 7 percent. But this could also be the consequence of Burns's low name identification within the district -- 72 percent of the likely voters surveyed don't know who he is.

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David Freddoso

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David Freddoso came to the Washington Examiner in June 2009, after serving for nearly two years as a Capitol Hill-based staff reporter for National Review Online. Before writing his New York Times bestselling book, The Case Against Barack Obama, he spent three years assisting Robert Novak, the legendary Washington... more
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